Brief Plot Description: An Indian girl named Karana lives alone on the island of the Blue Dolphins for years after she is separated from her family as a result of the battle between the Aleuts led by Captain Orrlov and the tribe led by her father. Living alone on the island, she has managed to survive by herself. She works to build a house and a fence, cook food, make weapons, and watch for the coming of dangerous animals and the Aleuts. She also befriends some dogs, and at the end of the story, she goes to Mission Santa Barbara.
Genre(s)/Subject(s): Adventure fiction, survival, determination, and perseverance.
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Awards: Newbery Medal for 1961
Books Similar in Style, Content, Theme, or Characters: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Programming/Lesson Ideas: The story is based on the true story of Juanna Maria, so it is suggested to do some research on Juanna Maria to have a better understanding of this novel.
Personal Thoughts: This story is sad, yet inspiring through portraying a courageous and determined character to children. It is hard to imagine how difficult it is for a girl living alone on an island by herself for such a long time. It sends a positive message to children that growing up sometimes is not easy, but they have to confront the difficulties they face.